Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Siamese Mom Fixed Yesterday

The hissy spitty Siamese mix mom, called Laurel by the woman who feeds her, was fixed yesterday. In exasperation, last night, over too many cats to care for, I put her two boys back in with her, even though one of them is just like her, hissy spitty beyond all reason. Must be genetic. The other little boy, in the photos with his mom, below, is the exact opposite and cannot seem to understand his mother's hostility nor his brothers'. I want to return her, so the one boy has a chance to learn socialization, but it's turned so darn hot, supposed to be 100 degrees today. I am hesitant. Maybe tonight.

None of the cats have long lives if allowed to free roam in that neighborhood. It's bad. Free roaming druggees, drunks and criminals everywhere. Free roaming vicious dogs, on occasion. But the worst of all, is the free roaming attitude of "we don't care about anything but ourselves." It's prevalent in the felony flats district. I don't know exactly how many cats I've gotten fixed in a five block area there. Tons! Not that far from where I trapped Laurel is where Tiny Tim flopped up the sidewalk, after being attacked by a dog, rear knee shattered. But the injury was old and nobody had taken it upon themselves to help him.

And at that place, Black Pearl was abandoned pregnant. I ran into the man of the couple who feeds those strays. I didn't recognize him. I've only seen him a couple times briefly. That's because I have to sit in my car to trap there. He wasn't present when I went into his utility room to net Meesa and her four kittens. Meesa is still here waiting for some sort of home option, where it might be safe to live, and so are two of her four kittens, Echo and Fantasia.

He said to me, when I ran into him last night and could not recall him, "You'd remember me if I was a cat." And that is probably true. He then said, "You got about 8 fixed for us in down town." I remembered then. I corrected him. I said, "Actually it was 24 cats, and I've still got three of them." The first time I trapped there was when their vet gave them my number and told them to get those cats they fed fixed. I trapped ten. All but one were big boys. The only girl was a torbi, and Meesa's sister.

Next time around, I trapped three more, again all boys. The next time I was there, was when they called wanting me to take Black Pearl and her kittens. They could have called when she was dumped pregnant, but they didn't. So I took in Black Pearl and her three kittens. I took in Tiny Tim and returned two other males I trapped, after they were fixed, including Meesa's only surviving kitten, from her very first litter, a black and white long hair male, a teen then. That was last November.

Meesa herself was thrown out with her three siblings a few houses down from there. I'd gotten a female cat fixed for a couple. They had a back bedroom waist high in trash and junk. Their cats kittens, four of them, lived in the trash there. I couldn't get to them. They promised to socialize them and call when they were big enough to be fixed. They never called. I left notes on their door, phone messages which were not returned and finally ran into the woman who told me the kittens scuttled out the back door and she figured the neighbors dogs killed them.

Except they weren't dead, they just moved down the block so they could eat, for gosh sakes. And went on to reproduce. Actually, only Meesa got the chance. I caught the torbi sister before she ever had that chance. The long hair orange tux male is fixed. But the fourth kitten, now almost two years old, a short hair orange tabby tux, I never caught. It isn't that easy there, to catch the cats. I have to sit in my car, use a remote control trap or the drop trap, because there are so many fixed ones. I just never got to it, was fed up with people who feed but won't get involved in fixing. Like the man I ran into last night.

He said "They're thinning out." And by that he means they're getting killed. Maybe that neighbor is killing them, that he gave permission to do so. I don't know. I'm just burned out from all this horror.

Not that far either from where Laurel was trapped I trapped cats another woman fed next to a disgusting boarding house full of drunks. That same property owner owned a small house behind the boarding house and that is where Hope lived, before she was abandoned with her kittens. She is the one whose eye was knocked from its socket in an act of blunt force trauma after which she retreated through the hole in the foundation and up through the hole in the floor inside the house where she'd lived with the asshole who left her behind. With her kittens. She knew me, from getting her spayed, so she came out to me, when I tapped on the window. It was a horrific sight, her eye, swollen so, and touching, to see her, still trying to care for her kittens, under such horrible circumstances, clinging to the only thing familiar, that wreck of a house.

I was her savior, the one she trusted in this mix of characters. I took four teen kittens from there also. 8 cats in all, including Hope and her kittens, who brought ringworm into my place. The cats were crawling, no, alive in fleas. Poppa's president still has three of those other four. I left four fixed adults. When I was back, trapping Laurel and her family members, I wandered by there, while traps were set at the other place, to remember the scene with Hope.

Same woman was on the porch of the boarding house and she was still drunk. New men, however, drunk and obnoxious. They told me the neighbor on the other side of the house of the woman who fed the four remaining cats hated the cats and killed them. I said "What?" The big drunk Mexican guy says, "What's the problem, they're dead now and who cares anyhow?"

"I do," I said. "I care. And you should too. But that bottle is all you care about."

The common denominator in most of these instances of animal neglect, abuse and abandonment is meth. I hate meth. I hate meth producers and dealers. Meth kills people and produces far reaching affects on everyone around the meth user, from kids to animals. Kids born to meth users are often damaged from birth. Meth users, the ones I've encountered, never are quite right again, even after years of abstinence. I've become very harsh in thoughts regarding meth producers and pushers. I think they should be executed or jailed for life. The damage they do is so far reaching, ruining even the next generation born to users.

I don't like to set foot in that neighborhood. It makes my stomach go tight and my skin to crawl and go cold. I don't like it at all. But I remember Hope and her kittens. I remember Black Pearl and Toby and Tiny Tim. They needed help and love and a kind hand to touch them. And I'm glad I did touch their lives. Very happy I touched their lives.

All in all, however, despite the traumas I go through, being affected as I am as witness to so much suffering in the cat and human worlds, I have a dream life, one I could never have imagined when deep inside my own horrors living within the mental health system.

I could never have imagined being in a position to be able to help so many cats and their people into better circumstances. I owe almost everything to the cats and to nonprofit Poppa Inc. Those people believed in me, were kind to me, supported me with their nonprofit's money when they didn't have to and still don't have to. I love them.

I work in frantic mode sometimes because most of my life was lost to the mental health system and its dark hole. I was hopeless then, with no hope of a better life, being told that by caseworkers, that this was my life, to accept it, to never dream of anything better. But I did dream.

Those decades were stolen from me and I can't ever get them back. I can't ever get what some might call a normal existence back for me, of having a family, a job, decent income, all that. So I'm doing what I can, for my community, for the people who live here, for the cats because it was the cats who saved me, who got me out of that hopeless existence inside the mental health system. I can never lose sight of that fact.

People have mocked me when I say that, that the cats saved me, and became my family, when I had no human on earth to turn to. However, it is true. They led me out of the darkness into the life I have now. When I stop to remember, I can only be grateful.

I could be dead. I would be dead if I had remained in "mental health care".

I need to ignore the hardships involved and continue on, with gratitude and humility.

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